Event Title

The Use and Misuse of Disposable Email

Presenter Information

Samantha Mater, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

9-26-2014 12:00 PM

End Date

9-26-2014 1:20 PM

Poster Number

5

Abstract

Numerous online activities require users to provide an email address. However, there are many services that, while useful, may not be trusted with a user's primary email address. From viewing and posting on forums, to online shopping or downloading software, it is often impossible for users to enjoy the convenience of online services without exposing themselves to spam, phishing attempts, and more. Disposable email services provide users with temporary email addresses that can help mitigate the risk associated with providing a primary email address. Because disposable email addresses are not associated with passwords, all mail sent to any given disposable address is publicly available. Using four popular disposable email services (Dispostable, Mailinator, myTrashMail, and TempEMail), we were able to construct a dataset of 856,886 emails. We then analyzed those emails in order to answer the following questions: How are disposable email addresses most commonly used? What potentially dangerous personal information is exposed in these emails? Are disposable email addresses being used for cybercrime? Our preliminary results show evidence of numerous dubious activities and many pieces of personal information, from full names to home addresses, being exposed.

Project Mentor(s)

Cynthia Taylor, Computer Science

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Sep 26th, 12:00 PM Sep 26th, 1:20 PM

The Use and Misuse of Disposable Email

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Numerous online activities require users to provide an email address. However, there are many services that, while useful, may not be trusted with a user's primary email address. From viewing and posting on forums, to online shopping or downloading software, it is often impossible for users to enjoy the convenience of online services without exposing themselves to spam, phishing attempts, and more. Disposable email services provide users with temporary email addresses that can help mitigate the risk associated with providing a primary email address. Because disposable email addresses are not associated with passwords, all mail sent to any given disposable address is publicly available. Using four popular disposable email services (Dispostable, Mailinator, myTrashMail, and TempEMail), we were able to construct a dataset of 856,886 emails. We then analyzed those emails in order to answer the following questions: How are disposable email addresses most commonly used? What potentially dangerous personal information is exposed in these emails? Are disposable email addresses being used for cybercrime? Our preliminary results show evidence of numerous dubious activities and many pieces of personal information, from full names to home addresses, being exposed.